Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monitoring device to stay, judge rules

Charkaoui also must adhere to all conditions 'to ensure any danger is neutralized'


Published: 6 hours ago

Adil Charkaoui, a Montreal man accused by the federal government of being an Al-Qa'ida sleeper agent, will have to keep wearing a global positioning system device that has monitored his every move since early 2005, a judge ruled yesterday.

"The request for Mr. Charkaoui's provisional liberation without conditions is denied," Federal Court Judge Simon Noël concluded in a 26-page judgment favouring the government.

In addition to wearing the device on his ankle, Charkaoui, 34, will have to continue to adhere to 15 other conditions "to ensure any danger is neutralized," the judge said.

Noël left the door open for less strict conditions later.

"It could be that in the future certain of his preventive conditions will be amended," he said.

"The court has always invited the parties to discuss this with the goal of arriving at an agreement that could be ratified" by a judge.

The Moroccan-born Charkaoui, a permanent resident of Canada, requested outright revocation of all conditions in June.

He has been fighting possible deportation.

Charkaoui could not be reached for comment yesterday.

"Of course, he is disappointed," Johanne Doyon, one of his lawyers, said late yesterday. He intends to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, she added.

Charkaoui remains unable to travel outside Montreal without Noël's permission.

Among the other conditions, he is still required:

- To be supervised at his work, as a primary-school teacher.

- To be accompanied at all times by specified people when outside his home.

- Not to use the Internet or cellphones.

Charkaoui was imprisoned in May 2003 under a federal security certificate. He stayed behind bars, because of government allegations that he was a sleeper agent for the Al-Qa'ida terrorist network, until his conditional release Feb. 17, 2005.

He has repeatedly demanded that all evidence against him be made public.

In an August hearing, his lawyers argued that Ahmed Ressam - a Montrealer convicted in 2001 of plotting to blow up Los Angeles International Airport - has retracted allegations against Charkaoui.

But in his ruling, Noël said he could not conclude Ressam had lied on two separate occasions in January 2002, when Ressam told the Canadian Security Intelligence Service he recognized Charkaoui's picture and knew him as Zubeir Al-Maghrebi.

Ressam remains jailed in the United States.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in February this year that the security-certificate process used against Charkaoui violated the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and gave Parliament a year to draft a new approach.

Because of the Supreme Court ruling, Charkaoui's lawyers argued before Noël, any conditions imposed on Charkaoui are illegal.